DEAR DR. ROACH: A few years ago, I developed visible fat between my naval and my rib cage. My doctor told me that it's a ventral hernia, which is nothing serious. I was told surgery is an option but not necessary. I am a female, 75 years old. Should I be concerned? -- A.M.
ANSWER: If your doctor is right, which I have no reason to doubt, you probably have an epigastric hernia, a defect in the abdominal wall. These are more common in men, and are usually small, about 1 cm or so.